History of Komotini

History of Komotini

The first written evidence of the town (“polisma” as Emperor Ioannis VI Katakouzinos called it) names it “Komoutzina” and dates back to the 14th century. At the time, Komotini was a small and insignificant settlement situated along Via Egnatia, according to the evidence provided by the ruins of the town small square fortress, which forms part of the great fortifications scheme of emperor Theodosius I (379 -395 A.C.). So, Komotini was built for the protection of Via Egnatia as well as the rich plain from the frequent raids made by Barbarians who came from the north.

Komoutzina will fall to the Ottoman Turks in 1361, after a siege organized by apostate General Gazi Evrenos Bey, who had Greek origins.

From the 14th century Komoutzina started taking the form of a town, when people coming from the nearby Byzantine town of Mosynoupolis (destroyed in 1206 by Bulgarian sovereign Kaloioannis) settled there. The population of the town marked a spectacular rise after its conquest by the Turks, when a great number of Ottomans coming from Asia Minor settled here.

As there was no more enough space for both Christians and Muslims in the old Byzantine fortress, new quarters gradually made their appearance: Christian and Muslim quarters, the Gypsies’ neighborhood and the Jewish quarter, inside the walls of the town where the synagogue was still standing till recently.

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